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Deviant insiders: medical acupuncturists in New Zealand


  • Dew, Kevin


Acupuncture gained considerable attention in anglophone countries in the 1970s. As part of that popularity many medical practitioners became interested in the therapy and learned acupuncture techniques. A number of studies have indicated that medical practitioners were able to take up the practice of acupuncture without threatening the cultural authority of medicine so long as they limited the scope of its practice and redefined acupuncture concepts in Western biomedical terms. These analyses tend to present the medical profession as monolithic and emphasize a dichotomous relationship between biomedicine and alternative therapies such as acupuncture. This study examines the ways in which acupuncture has been represented in different medical forums, suggesting that in order to understand the relationships between biomedicine and alternative medicine we need to be more aware of the changing nature of these representations and their dependency upon the context of the representation. Rather than emphasizing a duality between orthodox medicine and alternative medicine, it is argued here that there are pluralities of medical and healing worldviews.

Suggested Citation

  • Dew, Kevin, 2000. "Deviant insiders: medical acupuncturists in New Zealand," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(12), pages 1785-1795, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:50:y:2000:i:12:p:1785-1795

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    Cited by:

    1. Almeida, Joana & Gabe, Jonathan, 2016. "CAM within a field force of countervailing powers: The case of Portugal," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 73-81.


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